23 Aug 2021
Regular lockdowns in Victoria have meant that more people than ever are exploring the sites in their own backyard. Whittlesea residents are lucky to have incredible expanses of nature to investigate during their exercise times. The Plenty Gorge offers trails, native animals, bird watching and so much beauty, right on our doorstep.
Mindfulness strategies in nature
Being out in nature and appreciating the environment is something that can help relieve the stressors of life. Whether it’s work, lockdown, school or any kind of anxiety, practising mindfulness and gratitude can help. The diverse ecosystems and the intricacy of the flora and fauna in the Plenty Gorge Park offer millions of things to focus on. From spiderwebs to the blossoms of spring, the colour of the water in the lake to the rapid movements of a pair of duelling kangaroos, there is always something to observe and meditate upon.
A twitchers’ paradise
If you have a passion for bird watching then the Plenty Gorge is a dream destination for you. Birds of prey like Grey Goshawks and Wedge-tailed Eagles soar the skies, hunting, their wings spread gloriously in flight. Many species of birds share the environment. You might see flocks of galahs, long-billed corellas, spotted pardalotes, Australian kestrels, rose robins, gang gang cockatoos, rainbow lorikeets, crescent honeyeaters, eastern yellow robins, eastern spinebills and sulphur-crested cockatoos.
Take your time to explore the Tanunda or Morang wetlands and you may come upon an Australasian swamphen, a ballet of swans or a family of turtles.
Plan a picnic outdoors in the Gorge
As restrictions begin to ease remember that thePlenty Gorge has dedicated picnic areas which are excellent for families, and couples who want to enjoy a meal or a snack outdoors. From the Yellow Gum Recreational Area you can follow the 40 minute circuit around Blue Lake. Some parts of the trail are steep so are not wheelchair accessible or pram friendly.
Middle Gorge Park, adjacent to the Plenty River, also has an access point for a one kilometre walk. The Hawkstowe picnic area has BBQs, playgrounds and a path that leads to the old Le Page Homestead which is surrounded by some pretty cottage gardens tended by the Mill Park Garden Club. The Homestead Gallery is run by the Plenty Valley Art Society and opens on weekend afternoons.
Kids will love the Red Gum picnic area. The play equipment will challenge them and the park offers lots of wide open space for children to run. Hikers are able to park here to join in part of the Plenty Gorge walking track.
Support the local cafes near the Plenty Gorge
One way to help small businesses during this lockdown period is to purchase takeaway food and drinks. On your way to the Plenty Gorge you can pop into Magnolia on Orchard and grab coffee, juice and a brekky burger for your morning adventures. Pick up coffee, lunch and snacks at Two Beans & a Farm, Thirtyfold or Farm Vigano.
Join the Friends of the Plenty Gorge on Facebook, for regular updates about birdlife, tracks to hike and observations about the beauty of the area. The talented photographers of the Whittlesea area are constantly uploading stunning photos of birds and wildlife to inspire your next adventure.